tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 7, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
of our kids. as long as we're willing to work hard, as long as we have that fair chance, we've got to be able to deliver,okay? and that's why i'm on this side, and that's why you get the perspective you do from me day in and day out. i want to let you know that. thanks for watching the show. we really appreciate it. "hardball" is up next. who moved my government? let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, down to the wire. in just over 24 hours, the united states government will shut down unless the two sides can reach agreement. we learned just today of some cases in which republicans, no surprise, have said yes, of course, cut government spending as a matter of principle. but just keep the money coming
to my district. we're going to play some "hardball" with a tea party leader. what will it take besides unconditional surrender to the tea party's demands to keep the united states government open? also, john boehner says there's no daylight between him and the tea party. we can believe that or more likely, as someone said, boehner has the tea party holding a blowtorch at his back. they want no compromise. liberal democrats don't want president obama to give anybody more than he already has. so how do these two leaders of these two parties make the deal they want to make without infuriating their bases? plus we're all potential players in donald trump's new reality show. to believe trump, you have to believe what he calls the con. to make barack obama president of the united states was hatched 50 years ago before he was born. try wrapping your head around the real birther theory of donald trump. >> and wisconsin payback. two elections on tuesday this week made it clear that
wisconsin voters are angry with governor scott walker's attacks on the union movement. let me finish tonight with the fact that four out of five republicans now have doubts about what country our president was born in. what a revolting development for the republic and why that makes perfect bait for donald trump. we start with the shutdown showdown and the tea party wants in exchange -- what they do want in exchange for keeping government open. mark mekler is the cofounder of the tea party patriot. it's great to have a leader on and it may be that you're in charge of the united states government in this sense. you guys are calling the shots. what is your demand? is it still absolute victory, you want all the cuts the republicans talked about in that first house bill this year, hr 1, $100 billion currently prorated to $61 billion. you want that or nothing, right? >> that's what we're looking for. that's correct, chris. >> which means is that the deal maker, the only deal maker? >> you know, we're not in congress so it's not our job to make the deal. our job is to reflect the american people. 57% of the american people say they're looking for bigger cuts or shut the government down. we're reflecting that.
it's up to the folks in congress to step up to the table and actually get a deal done. >> so let's ask you this. the way most people make deals, you apply -- suppose you want to buy a house and you say i'm going to pay 105 for it and the owner says, no, i want 130. so you go somewhere in the middle. that's not the way you do business. >> well, it is the way we do business. $100 billion is minimal. compared to what really -- >> but you said that's your opening bid. >> no, it was much higher. the american people spoke loud and clear in november. they wanted serious stuff done. $100 billion wasn't enough. >> what was your opening bid? >> 2.6 cents out of every federal dollar spent. that's nothing, chris. doing $100 billion -- >> what was your opening bid? >> we want to see them pass a balanced budget. >> okay. you don't want to answer. your opening bid, would you please acknowledge that was $100 billion. >> no, that was the opening bitd from the republican bid. >> what the tea party's opening bid? >> the tea party doesn't put out an opening bid. >> where are you willing to be happy with the results is it if boehner comes in and says, you know what, i think 43, $43 billion is about right, i'm
willing to go with that. what would you say? >> our people would say that's not good enough. they should push for $100 billion. >> spoe he says $99 billion. >> they'd want to push for 100 billion. >> so that's your position. let me ask you about these other things in your positioning. boehner said -- here he is, boehner, talking about these additional things. they're not really monetary, they have to do with values. well, if you want to call it abortion, fine. i think it's really about birth control, regulation at the environmental protection agency, things like that about climate change, the cultural questions we argue about all the time. here he is talking about why he has them on his bill. let's listen. >> our goal is real clear. we're going to fight for the largest spending cuts we can get, and the policy riders that were attached to them. >> well, that's not in the clip i wanted. another clip shows policy riders meaning i want to have no more regulations by the epa in terms of climate change and i don't want any federal money going to planned parenthood. is that where you are? where's the tea party on planned parenthood? >> we have not taken a position
on those. we're looking for fiscal responsibility. the riders are something the republicans are pushing for their base. >> so you'd be willing tonight to say if you can get me my whole 100 billion, which is down to 61 in terms of the months left in the year, i'm not going to complain about this other stuff. >> what i'm going to tell you -- >> can you answer a question? did you go to michele bachmann school? i asked you a simple question. >> i'll give you a simple question. >> will you settle for the $100 billion if you don't go with these other riders. >> if you want me to behave like somebody who runs an organization. this is what we're told to do by our membership. >> your membership should tell you they care about abortion rights or birth control? >> they tell us to go for the 100 billion. that's what we're doing. >> no additional demands beyond those? >> we don't. >> that's interesting. >> so who in the republican party has the blowtorch to the back of john boehner saying i want no more money going for birth control at planned parenthood. who said i don't want anything on climate change? what do you guys say? >> all i can tell you is we're pushing for $100 billion. that's what they promised in the november elections, that's what we expect them to deliver. >> let me ask you about the way this is going to work out. in the next election, you guys -- how many people do you think
got elected based on tea party support? >> i don't know what the numbers are. it definitely changed the climate. >> do you think you got the republicans in the majority? >> the tea party movement, absolutely. >> do you think they could lose if they don't play ball with you? if they lose the majority? >> yes. >> and not playing ball with you, if boehner is watching right now, and he may have fox on, i don't know what they watch. they may have cnn but they would be smart to have it on because you're on. what would you want to tell john boehner in terms of what you want him to do at the white house when he meets with the president and harry reid. what do you want him to do? do you want him to say, mr. president, we want $61 billion in federal cuts, that's the current rate of what would get us $100 billion annually and nothing short of that. you want him to do that. >> what we want him to do is to protect america and prevent a government shutdown. we'd like to see him tell the president to encourage the senate to pass hr 1. it's sitting there. they can, they have the power to prevent a government shutdown right now and he should ask the president -- >> let's talk about a week from now, two weeks from now, three weeks from now. we don't really know about how
hot this country is going to get if people can't go to national parks, they can't go to yosemite, they can't go to the smithsonian institute, their refund checks are not coming, soldiers are not getting paid, all kind of things we're not fully aware of aren't going to happen when these federal employees get furloughed and put off the job. i don't care about the blackberries not working. they can be pretty offense sieve at times, but what do you think is going to be the mood of the country two or three weeks into a government shutdown and how are they going to feel toward the tea party? >> i think they're going to be thrilled with the tea party because the tea party is reflecting their values. we can get the soldiers paid. there's a bill out there right now to authorize paying the military. the democrats are standing in the way of that. the president has said he would veto that bill. i was stunned to hear him say bring on the shutdown. he said i'm not going to fund the military. i'm not going to sign the big, even if there's bipartisan support in the senate to pass that bill, i think that's outrageous and goes against the majority of the american public opinion. >> so how many areas of exception would you point to besides the military? >> i'm not sure i understand? >> would you say social security checks should still go out? >> they are going out regardless. >> you want them to go out? >> absolutely.
>> thank you very much. mark mechler who is deep down a politician. joining me is -- you're laughing because you see how these guys play the game too. we're for all government spending cuts, except for the stuff that affects the soldiers, which makes perfect sense and anybody out there over 65 because every single one of them votes. let's go. senator, thank you for joining us. let me ask you about the fact of this one-week extension. the tea party fellow made a good point. the president doesn't want a deal, he just wants the government to go back with the big deal or nothing. no more short-term, get along kind of things. why is the president not supporting a get along and see what we can do next week. you >> i think what we need in government is predict ability and these short-term resolutions give us anything but predictability in government. it's a darn poor way to do business. by the way, the six-month cr we're working on and hopefully will get agreement on and keep the government operating isn't
long term but gets it to the ending of the fiscal year. that's what the president is looking at and i am too. >> what are you worried about in terms of the government shutting down out in montana? what's real? people can live without the smithsonian. i always tell people come to walker, you already pay for these museums, you ought to come once in a while. but absent museums, smithsonians, national parks, things like that, i'm told that the big money is still going to roll. checks will still go to social security recipients, medicare bills are still going to be paid. what are you worried about. >> i'll give you a few examples. in montana we have a high rate of enlistment for folks to go fight around the world, particularly in iraq and afghanistan. those soldiers not getting paid on that military field is a travesty and shouldn't be happening. you know, this is a time where folks are getting refund checks from the irs, critically important. a lot of people budget around those refund checks. they're not going to happen. you know, the list goes on and
on and on and on and on. contracts that are being paid for for federal funds for contractors and building rent and those kind of things are going to end up not getting paid. the list is huge. and that's bad. you know, we're just coming out of the worst economic downturn since the great depression, chris. and this kind of government shutdown makes no sense whatsoever. do we need to get a good -- arms around the deficit and the debt? absolutely. and we can do that. but we're never going to do it just by looking at 12% of the budget, which is called discretionary spending. we need a long-term plan. the fiscal commission came out with a good plan, a format, a blueprint, whatever you want to call it to go forth. >> did you support that blueprint? >> i supported the blueprint to moving forward, absolutely. were there things in it i didn't like? absolutely. but that's the way we're going to get out of this mess is to put everything on the table and save serious dollars. i mean i went back to montana, i go back every weekend -- >> wait a minute, senator.
you just said you liked the erskine bowles plan to reduce the cost of government which had a lot of tricky stuff in there. the deal was if it got 14 votes it would have been soundly supported. it only got 11. would you have been the 12th vote? would you have voted for it like durbin did? you would have done that? >> i absolutely would have because i think the blueprint is right. are there things in it that aren't -- that i disagree with? absolutely, chris. but this is a give-and-take situation. it's a negotiation. >> well, that's not the way the tea party sees it. they want to win it all. let me ask you this. you've got a plan out there to deny unemployment benefits to people that have a million dollars in assets. what's that about? do people actually do that, claim unemployment jobless benefits when they have got a lot of money? >> they are. that's a fact. as we try to get our fiscal house in order, taxpayers shouldn't be paying unemployment benefits for millionaires. it's just common sense. pe passed it unanimously yesterday. it was the right thing to do. >> is that going to reduce the federal debt? >> well, absolutely, because
unemployment -- there's taxpayer support to that that we'll be able to give it to the people who really need it. >> are you ready to go all the way with that in cutting out social security and stuff like that for millionaires, benefits? all these federal programs? it's an idea that's been talked about over the years. should donald trump, not that i'm going to be too hard on him tonight, i already have that planned. but should guys like donald trump be pulling down unemployment checks, not that he's ever been unemployed, but medicare checks for doctors when he can afford to have the best doctors in new york? should someone like that or michael bloomberg, warren buffett, should they get social security checks at 65, yes or no? >> i'll just tell you this, entitlements need to be on the table. there's a way we can deal with it. whether it's means testing or other ways to make sure it functions well for generations and generations to come and doesn't add to our debt. >> every time i see cbs used to do these programs, years ago, that show these big boats, these yachts going through boca raton, florida, and they'd say these people are drawing social security.
what's your reaction as a populist, a guy with a tractor under him? what do you think when you hear that kind of report? i'm not kidding. i know it's ridiculous, but these people are pulling checks. they don't want to miss a buck. >> well, that's exactly right on one hand. on the other hand they paid into it too. what i'm saying, chris, there's things we can do here. i'm going to tell you, in the senate i think there's people on both sides of the aisle that want to negotiate a long-term deal to get our debt and deficit under control. i think it can be done. entitlements, military spending, discretionary spending, tax reform, all that stuff needs to be addressed. >> are you guys sleeping on couches this weekend in the senate? >> i will be here if there's a shutdown, no doubt about that. if we don't have a shutdown, i'll be back into the big sky of montana. >> you and chet huntley. thank you very much. senator john tester. coming up -- a great senator. coming up, between john boehner and the president, who's got the most pressure on them from behind? both these guys, look at them now, feel the pressure.
it looks like boehner is sweating more, or crying, whatever. the president never cries. the tea party wants boehner to push for deeper cuts or liberals who worry the president is giving too much and not being tough enough. who's standing up to their own people. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. i sfloo [ male announcer ] for the outdoorsman who goes to extremes, a truck built to do the same. [ cricket chirping ] [ chirping stops ]
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back to "hardball." the showdown over the government shutdown is shaping up to be a political test over who can survive the economy -- survive the challenges within his own party. can speaker boehner control those unruly tea partiers who refuse to give in on any spending cuts. can president obama strike a deal with republicans without alienating progressive liberals in his own party. who's in a tighter vice. let's bring in two political analysts. gentlemen, let me talk to you about this fight. this is one of those interesting things. boehner looks like he's in the most trouble, because he seems to look as if he's almost going to cry or he's nervous or he's sweating. seriously. i don't say this lightly. i feel for this guy. he has a lot of people behind him that he hasn't had to deal with before. these are not professional politicians behind him, they're newbies. some have come in and they just want to win, win, win and not
compromise. >> what i find interesting about this is i think a narrow sort of poker terms, boehner is doing very well. i think he's cleaning the president's clock. he's got the white house up to $35 billion or something like that. >> starting with zero. >> yeah. these are big, big cuts. but no matter how cleverly, and i think pretty well boehner has played the inside game, he's losing two levels of the outside game. the first to the tea party people. you had one of them on saying $61 billion or bust. and i think the wider public, which is upset with everybody, but i think in the end will still, despite the clever maneuvering by boehner on the military funding and all that, still more likely blame the republicans. >> richard wolffe, is boehner in a vise? he's got the president pushing from one side, the tea party behind him and social conservativists. mechler said i'm not with then, i'm with the money people. i want to cut the money. at least my group doesn't, my group doesn't care about these other things like birth control and environmental protection. >> let's talk about the inside game versus the outside game. right now he only has to play the inside game and he's doing it well. >> the president or boehner?
>> the boehner is -- >> you've got to be careful there. >> boehner is. the speaker. he is actually -- all he has to do is care about the republican challenge he's going to face in the primaries and the people who put him there. the problem is there's going to be a deal. at this point he doesn't have to deal but there will be a deal. whether it's three weeks from now or now. >> where's the conception that there will be a deal? because strikes always end? >> yes, they do. and governments reopen after a shutdown. there will be a deal and that deal is not going to be $100 billion. >> do you agree there's going to be a deal in the foreseeable future? >> here's the -- again, to go back to the poker game. here's where the president made a mistake. or two things that were a problem. democrats didn't pass a budget last year which means that there's no fire break for the president. he's basically doing this himself, because there's no democratic marker from the senate. that's number one. number two, the president agreed to these little bites of the apple with the continuing resolutions.
>> current spending. >> first was two weeks for $4 billion. then the republicans came back for another two weeks for $6 billion. now the republicans are back saying we just want a little bit more, sir. how about one week for $12 billion and that's difficult for the president. republicans like continuing it that way. >> let's watch this interesting development. here's what john boehner said last night about his relationship with tea party people, with house members of the tea party. let's listen. >> you know what the democrats say, they say they could cut a deal with you but you won't buck the tea party. >> listen, there's no daylight between the tea party and me. >> you know, that's a big development, richard. last fall he was talking about how they were going to have their first adult moment. a bit dismissive. now he's them. >> it makes perfect sense to him. he doesn't need to reach out to independents. he doesn't have to play the bigger game for the republican party. he just has to work for house republicans. that's all he needs for his job. it's the president who has to speak to a bigger audience. it's the republican candidates -- >> we're talking as recently as december speaking to "new
yorker" magazine in december about how he'll -- keep moving the prompter, please. >> they shut down already. >> john boehner spoke in new york about how to deal with newcomers. he said this is going to be probably the first really big adult moment for the new republican majority. you can underline adult. this is him speaking. and for people never in politics it's going to be one of those growing moments. it's going to be difficult, but we'll have to find a way to help educate members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we don't do it. that is a bit paternalistic or patronizing, if you will. >> and also when you want to say something like there's no daylight between me and the tea party, it means there is. it means there is. and secondly, yes, and richard is absolutely right. in a way, the president wins by losing here. because i'm criticizing him as a
poker player. but in the larger sense, if -- you had a graphic on earlier about how the president is doing better among moderates. >> yes. >> if they end up with a final resolution of 35, $40 billion in cuts or something like that and it becomes finalized, the president -- boehner is then going to have a challenge from the right, but the president is going to win because he's going to be the guy who was around when the moderate deal was made. >> american politics is always based on who can get to the center when the vote is going. the president is racing to the center. >> he'sing dragged there. >> he did health care, he did a lot of things last year, a lot of stimulus, a lot of stuff that helped him. but now he's saying it's time to go to the center. but boehner is saying no, he now has to go to the right. is that a problem? >> it's a problem. but the bigger problem is this. they got the majority back by talking about jobs. the president wasn't talking about jobs, they were going to focus on jobs. tell me one job this is going to create. even boehner says it's going to cost more to shut down the government and reopen it. they're off subject. they're off topic. >> you don't -- you're not playing dumb. you know what the argument is. the less government spends --
>> what fascinates me by the whole thing. >> does anyone think it creates a job? one job? >> fascinating to watch the president on this because he has this ability to seem like he's being dragged to the middle. he did it on health care to the dismay of some on the left of his party. now he's being, quote, dragged or i'm saying he's being outmaneuvered politically by boehner, but where the president is going to end up is in the vicinity of a moderate deal that's going to -- within the context of current politics that's going to raise his numbers with moderates. >> according to reports, the stakes have taken an emotional turn for boehner. today "los angeles times" quotes -- the emotional toll of the protracted debate had been apparent earlier in the day when boehner choked up in a closed door meeting of republicans over the support he received for his hard-line stance. he's feeling it. also politico told the gop also politico reported that boehner told the gop conference on monday that those who voted against him the last
time around abandoned him, a message some lawmakers privately said was overemotional. so he's getting emotional about people who screwed him and people who have loved him. this guy is really unstable here. emotionally he seems to go in either direction. if you love me, oh, if you don't love me, oh, the guy is so sensitive. >> what he's saying there, though, is, look, you abandoned me on that continuing resolution thing. don't abandon me on this. in other words, he's looking forward to the deal that ultimately i think richard is right is going to be cut. he's basically saying to those people, you screwed me on the earlier thing, you've got to stick with me on this one. i think that's what the message behind that was. >> you mean that song, don't come knocking on my window, you don't love me anymore? >> he's saying you abandoned me, you've got to stick with me. >> he's crying because he didn't want to have two bad choices, meaning two budget balance deals. his actual bad deal is shut down or losing the support of his co-workers. both of them are bad for him. bad for republicans in general, they're bad for him, and they're
going to have to go through much more pain. >> i'm stunned by this. i think we're going to able to watch this at the end of the week and you're going to see boehner looking nervous and sweaty and almost crying and obama kind of delightfully debonair? >> compromise works for obama. it does not -- >> he said that first. >> i agree with everything he says. >> that's right, but he said it first. >> by a nanosecond. >> by a hair. thank you howard and richard. the president win bias going to the center. lately. he had already gone to the left. the republicans have come toward the right and are going too far right to win an election. up next, speaking of too far right or something, glenn beck explains his departure, as you might explain -- look at this. is that sane behavior? oh, geez, i can't look at him anymore. i guess that's what happened. nobody could. we'll see more. he's telling himself now the modern day paul revere. you can see him now. one if by land, two if by sea. glenn beck, you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. are lo.
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he didn't do it. he got off the horse at some point and fought in the revolution. and then he went back to silversmithing. i have other things to do. d not because it's good or bad for business, but i think you, out of all the people, will truly get this. our only business is the business of freedom and our country at this time. >> great, thank you. one if by land, two if by sea, three if you think beck's departure has raised the iq over at fox. up next, the boy who cried politics. here he is, 5-year-old jesse coxson, the kid who would be governor. >> what's making you so sad? >> cause everyone tells me that i'm too small to be the governor of new jersey. >> i love that accent. well, he got his chance after that video went viral. the real governor of new jersey, chris christie, yesterday named jesse honorary governor for the day. even offered him some tips.
>> you and i have a talk back there about property taxes? >> of course i did. >> what did i tell you? >> don't raise them. >> right. and if you do raise them, what happens? >> i'm not going to be -- i'm not going to be the governor for that long. >> that's right. >> that's chris christie, a recognizable human being the republicans could probably use as a presidential candidate. now for tonight's big number. if you've covered politics for some time, you're used to press releases like this one out of the senate democratic leader harry reid's office that reads republicans have shown they couldn't care less about those who have the least. well, on the other side from the republican congressman leader, eric cantor, democrats have not displayed the same interest in listening to the american people. this partisan flame throwing happens more than you think. a harvard professor analyzed all the press releases sent out by various u.s. senators over a two-year period and according to that study how much of their communications were simply to
taunt the other political side. 27%, almost a third, 27% of congressional press releases are just wasteful school-yard taunts, but then again you already knew that, didn't you. tonight's big number. up next, donald trump is now a full-on birther. he's suggesting that president obama has perpetrated the biggest con in american political history and this crazy talk is working as he's surging in the polls out there on the right. are we all just potential players in trump's latest reality show? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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supreme court candidate a substantial lead. in japan officials say a 7.4 earthquake caused no news problems at the fukushima plant. in brazil, a gunman opened fire in the school, killing 13 children and wounding 20 more before turning the gun on himself. the israeli military says the new iron dome military defense system shut down an inbound palestinian rocket on its first combat mission. now back to "hardball." you are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. he may not have been born in this country. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was, of course, donald trump on the "today" show basically pushing his conspiracy theory about president obama's birth, saying that he may not have been born in the united states. it's called birtherism.
and are we all just players now in the latest trump reality show, which is what it's becoming. steve kernaki writes about this for salon.com. we also have errol lewis on, host of "inside city hall" in new york. let me go to errol on this. it seems to me that this is a reality show in the making. no one who thinks about it believes that a young woman, a white woman in this case with an african husband somehow wired it so that it would look like she was in the country when she snuck off secretly without any paperwork off to kenya or somewhere else, came back, had it whiered with the hospitals to lie and tell the local newspapers that these reports of birth were true. lied with the government, got the government of hawaii to cooperate. this elaborate conspiracy theory. trump goes on and says nobody knew him when he was a kid so he enlarges on it to the point of suggesting that he is an imposter, that he's something else playing to the right wing rubes out there. i don't know who you call these people but they're not very learned about this, who don't want to think about it, who just
don't like him basically because he's black. i think that's what it's about. your thoughts, errol? that's my thought. >> i don't know where it comes from, but i do know that what donald trump is doing is the way to get a sizeable number of voters interested in you and it seems to be working. the polls seem to bear it out. >> who are these voters? what kind of people are they? >> they are the kind of people who don't pay attention to the long list of facts that you just read -- >> because they want to believe the worst about this guy named barack obama. they're willing to believe it. >> the particulars of the birther case are not as important as the fact that there are some people who just can't accept the fact that the guy is the president, for whatever reason. they can't accept the fact that what they believe in, what they voted for, what they hoped for, what they want in foreign policy and domestic policy is not what the majority of the country chose in 2008. >> well, here's trump's exchange with meredith vieira on "today." let's listen. >> i have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding.
>> you have people searching in hawaii? >> absolutely, and they cannot believe what they are finding. i would like for him to show his birth certificate, because if he can't, and wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility. i'm not saying it's happened. i'm saying it's a real possibility, much greater than i thought two or three weeks ago, he's pulled one greatest cons in the history of politics. what do you think is going on here? i think they were desperate for a leader. the showman, if you will, the smart guy, hey, this guy believes it, maybe it's right. he gives credibility to this crowd. your thoughts. >> absolutely. >> he probably has the highest income of anybody that's a birther, i think that's probably fair. >> the irony is even if what trump is suggesting that -- >> that his mother engaged in, the hospital, his father, all the people that knew him as a kid, they all engaged to
coneffect this history of the guy, so he could be president of mixed racial background and this little mother figured it all out. >> it's not true at all, but even if you took the xwask premise that an american mother had to be in kenya and a few days later brought him back to the united states, that's what trump is alleging happened, that would basically be the circumstances -- >> there's no evidence of that. >> that would be the circumstances of the birth of john mccain, who was born in the panama canal. >> errol, you'll be more helpful. when you have the evidence that there was a birth announcement that appears nine days after his birth, somebody must have had a plan long before this con occurred by the president that somebody way back when set less's have a kid over in kenya.
with the idea of saying he was born in the united states. i mean this conspiracy had to be hatched back before. you're wrong -- you're absolutely wrong, steve. the way this thing has to work is before he was born because you have to wire the whole thing. you can't say the mother happened to be over in kenya and wired it so it appeared in the newspapers back then and the hospitals would all -- you have to set this up way ahead of time. >> you're applying a degree of logic. >> that's what i'm trying to point out. the average interviewer is not asking the right questions. it's a reality show. >> there is no right question to ask trump, because this is something people wanting to believe no matter what you tell them factually. if you correct them on the facts, they will invent new facts. >> then what is going on here? >> let me tell you what's going on. i sat with trump for a one on one interview about half an hour last month. he's a very sharp, savvy guy. he knows how to go out and push buttons to get people to watch his show, to push him higher in the polls. >> so was this a reality show we're watching? >> he carefully puts it in a
way. it may be this or it may be that so when you turn the cards over, he'll say, look, i never said it definitively. >> he said it may be the biggest con in history. what's that mean to you? street corner black politician. con? ererrol, would you listen to the words being used? what does that say to you? >> some of the words that i heard or that i focus are are the more serious ones because this to me is foolishness. when he talks about foreign trade pacts and manufacturing policy and how we're getting our pants beaten off us, he sounds like your colleague, ed schultz over there. he's got some substance and i think we should focus on the substance. and dismiss the -- >> >> that's not what's getting these numbers. let's give donald trump his due. a new cnn/opinion research poll has 20% of republicans now are sure obama was definitely born in the united states. now here we go, what's going on here. four out of five republicans have doubts about the president's birth in the united states. steve, isn't that the reality he's playing with? he's got a big dance floor here. >> sure. >> if four out of five
republicans have doubts about him born here, trump is the only guy willing to say he has doubts. therefore, the other guys, including probably michele bachmann who won't play this game because they're serious lose. because if the only guy that says i've got doubts just like the four out of five of you have doubts, he's on the playing field, they're not. he's playing birther politics, they're not. he might get a lot of votes out of this. your thoughts, steve. >> there's a poll out that says he's in second place right now nationally in the republican field. >> and gaining. >> 17%. but i think that's a very significant number but i think it's more significant for what it says about the rest of the republican field. about the fact that they are -- >> what, being honest? >> this is a field that does nothing to excite anybody on the republican side. >> one way to get everybody excited is to say insane things. we just saw glenn beck do it for a couple of years. all you have to do in this medium is say loony tune stuff, far left, far right and you will find your niche. what he has done is found the niche of the birther crowd. probably some truther on the democratic side could have pulled the number that george w. bush blew up the world trade center and he or she could have
gotten 5% of the democratic vote. there are a lot of nuts that are desperate for information. deep down they don't want the information, they want the sales pitch. your thoughts. >> i agree with you. to complete my thought there, the issue is this is sort of a phenomenon of the early months of the republican nominating process. this is why i don't think he'll run for president because right now he's a celebrity who can connect with the base by saying things like this. if he actually gets in the race, in all of his past gets unearthed. >> that's months from now. >> this is a guy -- he was talking a few years ago about having a surtax on the super-rich. >> here's what i bet. errol, is he running? >> listen, all i'll say, folks, is that jimmy carter was unthinkable, bill clinton was unthinkable, ronald reagan was unthinkable. almost up until the day that they won. >> what agitates me is this con is really being perpetrated by donald trump. anyway, thank you steve kernacki. steve, you're wrong, he's running and this is stuff he shouldn't be saying. he's ten times smarter than this. >> look what he said ten years ago. >> what?
>> ten years ago he was trying to sell a book and pulled the same con. he talked about the surcharge on the wealthy -- >> no, this is real. i think he's running this time. >> he had a platform. >> donald is running. he can't be this crazy and not running, it's one or the other. >> look at the ratings. up next -- you have to be loony tune republican party to look at the numbers going up in the poll. coming back we're talking about payback in wisconsin. what's really happening out there. this is not a reality show, it's what's happening with workers in wisconsin. the voters are fed up with that governor out there. this guy overreached. we'll be right back. they're going after scott walker out there. that's ahead. funny how nature just knows how to make things that are good for you. new v8 v-fusion + tea. one combined serving of vegetables and fruit with the goodness of green tea and powerful antioxidants. refreshingly good.
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welcome back to "hardball." tuesday's elections this week in wisconsin are widely seen as a referendum and rejection on governor scott walker out there who made a national name for himself when he took on the unions and basically the turnout out there was tremendous. double or greater than it's ever been in this election. a race to fill scott walker's old seat as county executive, the republican was trounced by
22 points. and the other contest for state supreme court, the democrat came out from nowhere and now holds a razor-thin lead over the incumbent supreme court justice, a race that's likely headed to a recount. ken vogel writes ken, this race, is it just an objective fact that labor and the democrats got roused up in this race in a way they never were before by this attack on collective bargaining? is that a fair fact to state? >> no question. and there was no question that this was a referendum on scott walker in. many ways, the county executive race in milwaukee was more of a referendum, because this was the seat that you can whatter held before he was governor, the guy who was running to replace him, the republican, was a real protege of his. expressed support for his policies. of course, while more attention has been on the court race, because of the statewide race, and also because the court could end up deciding the fate of the
controversial union reform -- collective bargaining reforms that walker pushed through. but both equally important and got out the vote. >> here is an advertisement for the race that shows the race was really all about governor scott walker, as you just said. let's watch. jeff stone is running for county executive, and milwaukee families are concerned. >> jeff stone? i thought he was scott walker's twin. >> sounds like more of the same. >> mismanaged county government. >> jobs have been lost. >> and stone wants more of that? >> worse, stone even said he stands with walker's unfair plan. >> you've got to be kidding me. >> jeff stone? >> jeff stone is scott walker. >> i think eight years of scott walker is enough. >> anybody that thought the labor movement was dead is wrong. they were brilliant at this.
they made it into a real sales pitch. >> they did. it kind of reminds me of in the 1990s when clintons attached ads to newt gingrich. that same sort of thing. this whole scenario shortly after barack obama's election, republicans had big victories in virginia, new jersey, and the senate race in massachusetts, and people were saying it was because of obama. >> buyer's remorse. >> this is only in reverse. we're seeing in the polling a real backlash against walker now. >> i guess the goal -- let's go to this nationally. here are some interesting numbers down in florida. i never thought much of this guy's appeal. but rick scott is down to 35% approval. he is the republican governor down there. that's more than twice as many as disapproved in february. now to ohio. john casing out there not doing
well. his disapproval as well is almost 50%, twice what it was in january. he's sinking out there. and of course scott walker is doing a little better than the rest, 53 to 41. say their opinion of governor walker is strongly unfavorable. what do you think of this pattern? >> there's a trending, first of all, it's bad for incumbents right now where they have to solve these tremendous budget problems. but certainly you've got with the kasich and walker, you have republican governors who are slashing a lot of popular programmes. they are going after collective bargaining, which has got the unions angry. >> why do you people all of a sudden like the unions? they were tough on them for years. >> what you're seeing in the polling is not so much love for the unions as love for collective bargaining. there's a basic sense of fairness that's involved. folks are saying do we really want to -- how does collective bargaining help us meet our budget deficits? that's the question being asked. and a lot of folks who don't belong to unions still say unions at least help to keep
basic wages up for everybody. >> they keep the standard up. ken, your assessment of what's going on. is it just about unions? is it about the progressives coming back? are we seeing a comeback to the left, largely defined all the way from center over to left, people waking up to the fact that republicans have the strong arm on them? is that what's going on? >> i think it definitely hides a delicate balancing act. on the one end, these reforms are very popular. the clampdown on unions that we see, kasich and walker and scott pushing in floridas are popular with the tea party, but if they are too much with the tea party they'll have a backlash on the left. >> overreach. big word of the day, overream. when we come back, donald trump turning the presidential race into a reality show. for three hours a week, i'm a coach.
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we finish tonight with donald trump's masterful move to convert the competition for the presidential nomination into a reality show. this reality show is a work of art. when it comes to hype like this birther thing of his, he's no apprentice. he's a grant master. it's based on his proven ability to get people to focus where he wishes them to focus. his first and enduring technique is using staging, lighting, personality, and suspense to get the audience attention and not let it go. here is birtherism, the dark suspicion that barack obama was
not born in the u.s. and therefore ineligible to hold the office of president. it's obvious why trump would choose this topic. four out of five republicans have doubts that obama was born in the u.s. if terrorirump is willing to jom and the other candidates won't, he's in clover. certainly it is a criminal indictment, even treasonous for someone to assume the american presidency knowing that his parents conspired with the state of hawaii, their family, and friends to construct the false narrative of this baby's birth, and the supposed cover-up of all the travel documents that showed his mother flits off to africa, having him there, and heading back for the weird purpose of having him say he was born in the u.s. the only legal reason for which would be to have this mixed race kid elected to the country's highest office. the fact is, and don't ever forget it, barack obama would be an american wherever he was born